Westmoreland County high school notebook: P-T hoops standout tears ACL

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Thursday, December 2, 2021 | 5:17 PM


Basketball season tips off a week from Friday, and Penn-Trafford already has been dealt a devastating blow to the lineup.

Big Ben is done for the season.

Senior 6-foot-6 forward Ben Myers tore his ACL and will need six to nine months to recover. The injury occurred during an open gym session a few days before tryouts began Nov. 19.

One of several key players back from a WPIAL 6A quarterfinal team, Myers averaged nearly a double-double as a junior. He also was a shot-blocking presence in the paint.

“Ben had worked really hard in the offseason to become a complete player,” Warriors coach Doug Kelly said. “He is an outstanding young man. It’s a tough break, but he has a good outlook on things.

“We certainly don’t have another Ben Myers on our roster, but we do have guys who will battle and play their roles.”

Fralic Award

The winner of the third Bill Fralic Award for the WPIAL’s top senior interior lineman will be announced Saturday morning during a pancake breakfast at the Longue Vue Club in Verona.

Greensburg Salem’s Billy McChesney is the Class 4A finalist and joins five linemen from the other classifications: Kanye Hawkins of Clairton (Class A), Mason Manos of Neshannock (2A), Sean FitzSimmons of Central Valley (3A), Trent Fraley of Moon (5A) and Donovan Hinish of Central Catholic (6A).

Fralic, a former star at Penn Hills and Pitt before he went on to an All-Pro career as a guard in the NFL, died of cancer in 2018 at age 56.

Blast from the past

Greensburg Salem had a guest speaker at Wednesday’s boys basketball practice.

Longtime coach Paul Sapotichne stopped by to talk to the team.

Sapotichne, who resigned in June after six seasons leading the Riverview boys, reached out to current Golden Lions coach Mark Zahorchak about addressing his players.

“He said he would do anything he could to help us out,” Zahorchak said. “He stayed for about 75 minutes and installed and drilled several different zone offensive sets.”

Sapotichne coached Greensburg Salem for 29 seasons and racked up 399 wins. He led the Golden Lions to the PIAA Class 3A final in 2009.

“The kids were very attentive and loved having him there. They picked up on things quickly. Coach Paul is such a great teacher,” Zahorchak said. “Paul loved being there, and we loved having him there. It was fun to be back in the gym with him.”

Remembering Reese

Mt. Pleasant has a permanent memorial to former football player and State Rep. Mike Reese in its field house trophy case.

Athletic director Chris Brunson placed Reese’s No. 12 jersey behind glass with a block plaque that reads, “Mike Reese, Class of 1996, QB/FS, 59th District, House of Representatives, 2009-2021.”

“We want people to remember (Reese) and how much he did for and meant to our community,” Brunson said. “We just wanted to do what we could do now so Mike could be remembered by anyone in the field house who gets to see it. Maybe it spurs a conversation about who Mike was and how much he fought for and cared about high school athletics.

“It’s really a small gesture, but it’s what we could do at this time. Maybe a young person hears Mike’s story, and it keeps them going.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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